EIU president’s resignation joins trend

By Eric Krol

Another state university president announced his resignation during semester break, continuing what he calls a trend of shorter presidential regimes.

Eastern Illinois University President Stanley Rives announced his resignation Dec. 30, citing philosophical disagreements with the Board of Governors as among the reasons.

At last week’s Illinois Board of Higher Education meeting, BOG Chancellor Thomas Layzell declined to reveal just what the philosophical differences were. “I don’t propose to discuss these differences,” Layzell said.

“I think we agreed more than we disagreed,” he added.

The Rives’ resignation could be a part of the trend towards shorter public university presidencies.

NIU President John La Tourette said, “The turnover rate has accelerated and become rather severe, almost like a revolving door.”

Layzell said shorter presidencies aren’t inevitable, although he said he agreed with the basic premise. “It’s a very tough job. There are a lot of pressures from many different groups,” he said.

Rives clashed with the Layzell and the BOG several times during the past few years. A possible nepotism scandal in a vice president’s office and a failure to meet affirmative action hiring standards in another position caused controversy.

Business Professor Janet Francis-Larribee filed a sexual harassment suit against the university and BOG because of a complaint against a colleague.

Although Rives increased the school’s endowment fund, 53 percent of EIU faculty said they lacked confidence in Rives’ ability last spring.

Rives’ resignation, if approved by the BOG, will take effect July 31 after nine years at the EIU presidential post.

The Board of Governors oversee EIU, Western Illinois University, Chicago State University, Governors State University and Northeastern Illinois University.